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Yale is facing a lawsuit on the grounds that it discriminates against white and Asian-American applicants. Credit: Kylie Cooper

On Thursday, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Yale University, alleging that the school's admissions process discriminates against students on the basis of race.

The Justice Department brought the suit on the grounds that Yale discriminates against white and Asian-American applicants, The New York Times reported. A Justice Department investigation found white and Asian-American applicants were one-eighth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted than African-American applicants with the same academic record, the New York Times reported.

The Justice Department alleged that Yale’s admissions process violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that institutions receiving federal funding cannot discriminate on the basis of race or national background, The New York Times reported.

The department first leveled accusations of discrimination against Yale in August, demanding that the university stop considering racial or national background in their admissions process for at least a year. Yale responded in defense of its holistic admissions process and refused to change it.

In the wake of this lawsuit, the school continues to defend how they perform admissions. “Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity. Our admissions are completely fair and lawful,” Yale president Peter Salovey wrote in a statement released on Thursday.

Salovey affirmed Yale’s dedication to diversity, and wrote that the school would “not change as a result of the filing of this baseless lawsuit.”

The Justice Department backed a similar suit against Harvard University in 2018, which alleged that the university’s admission process discriminated against Asian-American applicants, The New York Times reported. A federal judge ruled in November 2019 that Harvard did not intentionally discriminate against Asian-American applicants.

In the wake of the 2018 lawsuit, Penn’s admissions department defended its own affirmative-action policies, arguing that they are crucial for creating a diverse learning community.

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